Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

Lenders Ratchet Up Requirements During Corona

Lenders are tightening their loan requirements in light of the corona chaos. Prospective home buyers are flocking to lenders in pursuit of those low interest rates, but lenders are not making it easy to qualify for loans, especially in higher-cost regions like The Bay Area.

It’s not difficult to understand lenders’ concerns amidst job losses and general economic instability. However, if you were preapproved for a loan in pre-corona times, it’s likely your lender has slapped some new requirements on that approval. Continue Reading

5 Tips for A Smooth Home Sale

Corona has slowed the real estate market down, but things can still move quickly when it comes to making an offer on a home. That’s why it’s critical that you and your agent review all the property details before you sign that contract.

The key to making a confident and successful home purchase lies in being prepared and knowledgeable. Here are five tips for being successful in the residential real estate game: Continue Reading

Prop 19: Transfer Tax Change on November Ballot

Up for a vote this November 3rd: Prop 19, which includes proposed changes to the property tax base transfer rules.

This ballot measure would let homeowners who are 55 or older transfer their property tax base to anywhere in California, for a more expensive home if need be. Eligible homeowners would also be able to make this transfer up to three times. Continue Reading

Corona Protocols Critical to SF Real Estate

We seem to be in another corona surge period, with San Francisco treading water when it comes to hospitalizations and rising infection rates. That’s why it’s extremely important for agents and clients to continue following correct property showing protocols when it comes to real estate business.

Listing agents, please make sure you have hand sanitizer and shoe covers in the property if you are allowing showings. It is not particularly encouraging when I bring clients to a property via lockbox, and find a sign requesting that we take our shoes off when there are no shoe covers in sight. And no hand sanitizer. Sticking a lockbox on the house and assuring me that I am scheduled for the showing isn’t convincing me that you’re handling things the proper way. Yes, I bring hand sanitizer with me, but please do your part to assure everyone’s safety.

And please resist the urge to put an A frame outside the property during an appointment timeframe. My clients and I arrive at a home and the anxiety level goes up if we think there’s a possibility random people off the street may be inside. If you have to market yourself, the house sign will be sufficient. Continue Reading

CrimeMapping A Cool Tool for SF Home Buyers

I always advise home buyers to do their due diligence if they’re concerned about crime activity around a property or in a particular neighborhood. Car theft/break-ins, muggings, assaults and burglaries are unfortunately incidents that happen in all areas. But some areas do have higher crime rates than others, and you should be aware of the nature and frequencies of crimes in the area you choose to call home in the future. Continue Reading

What Closing Costs Do Buyers Pay?

Closing costs include the various loan, title and insurance fees that a buyer pays in a transaction.

There is no fixed amount for closing costs, but they generally total one- to two percent of the purchase price. For example, I recently spoke with Karen McDowell at Citibank for her take on things. For a purchase of $1M – $1.5M, Karen typically tells clients to budget $10,000 for closing cost totals, excluding points. And as the purchase price goes up, she increases that total to $15,000. Costs will increase once you hit the $3M threshold; it’s best to pull your escrow officer in to estimate those costs.

Here’s a rundown on the major types of closing costs you’ll see when you buy your home: Continue Reading

Check Out District 4 Before You Flee SF for the Suburbs

Sheltering in place in a small flat with no outdoor space in a dense urban area has not been the ideal scenario this year. But before you decide to leave San Francisco behind because you can’t find the space you need, consider neighborhoods west of Twin Peaks.

Miraloma Park, Sherwood Forest, Ingleside Terrace, Forest Hill, Westwood Park, Diamond Heights—these are just a few of the neighborhoods in what we Realtors call “district 4” in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). These areas offer predominantly single-family home inventory and a more suburban feel, with yards, plenty of trees, and wide sidewalks. You’re also geographically central, with Stonestown Galleria, Ocean Avenue and West Portal retail nearby.

Here are a few of my favorite single-family homes in District 4 that are currently on the market. Give me a shout at eileen@insidesfre.com | 415.823.4656 if you’d like to chat about any of these homes:

451 Yerba Buena
Westwood Highlands

3BR/3BA, 3194 sq ft, 2 pkg
$2,375,000

451 Yerba Buena Avenue is a lovely English Tudor-style home with an awesome park-like yard, three bedrooms/two baths on the same level, gourmet kitchen and family room/bath down. Westwood Highlands has well-manicured, wide streets that aren’t packed with people, so you can go out for walks and not necessarily have to wear your masks constantly. [Listing courtesy of Berkshire-Hathaway Franciscan] Continue Reading

Don’t Get Sucked In By Super-Underpriced Properties

Don’t Get Sucked In By Super-Underpriced Properties

Heads up, home buyers: Super-underpriced homes are popping up in the market again. It’s a good time for a refresher on how this particular list price strategy works, so you don’t waste time on homes you can’t afford.

The coronavirus and ensuing shelter in place (SIP) temporarily influenced list prices in San Francisco, with many sellers and their agents going with transparent, closer-to-value asking prices. The idea was to limit property access to qualified buyers who could purchase the home at market value. Continue Reading

The Best Way To Screen Condos Before Scheduling a Showing

The real estate community is still working within corona limitations when it comes to showing property. Open houses won’t be returning anytime soon. Home-buying is all about qualified, ready-to-write-an-offer buyers who thoroughly screen homes via virtual tours with their agent prior to even thinking about seeing the property in person. Continue Reading

What You Can Buy: With Outdoor Space

The shelter in place has done its part to help many prospective buyers realize that they want outdoor space in their next home. The thought of having a garden or a big deck sounds extremely appealing right now.

I’ve rounded up some homes that have lovely exclusive-use outdoor space. Give me a shout at eileen@insidesfre.com | 415.823.4656 if you’d like to see any of these in person:

375 Moncada
Ingleside Terrace

5BR/3BA, 2 pkg
$2,495,000


375 Moncada is a big Mediterranean-style house with a landscaped front yard and sprawling rear garden. The kitchens and baths could use updating, but the home is certainly in move-in condition. And when Stonestown Galleria opens again, you’ll be in walking distance. (Photos courtesy of Keller Williams Realty) Continue Reading

5 Tips for Screening Location Before You Request a Showing

5 Tips for Screening Location Before You Request a Showing

The shelter in place (SIP) has changed the way buyers can see homes. There aren’t any open houses, and some properties can’t be physically shown at all.

If your agent does schedule an appointment, there are a number of pre-showing requirements that you need to meet, such as signing a coronavirus property entry advisory and often submitting a preapproval letter at the list price. Once at the property, entrants must wear masks and gloves, and no more than two buyers are typically allowed in the property simultaneously. Continue Reading

Home Prices Stable, Volume Down During SF SIP

The shelter in place (SIP) restrictions put San Francisco real estate on pause for a bit in mid March. But our local market is stable and sales are happening, despite the adversity. Prices are not declining, though volume is down by half. We now have six weeks’ worth of SIP market sales activity that will guide buyer and seller decisions in 2020.

The buyers and sellers doing business now are typically motivated by life situations—job relocation, financial situation, domestic changes, for example. Real estate is anything but recreational right now.

Properties in good locations are still seeing multiple offers and overbidding, though more for single-family homes than condos. Cash sales represent only a small portion of activity. Continue Reading

What You Can Buy: Single-Family Homes Coming Soon

There are plenty of properties in the queue that will be ready to go when the shelter in place (SIP) ends. Of course, many of these properties have sellers who would be happy to entertain offers sooner rather than later. Offer dates, for the most part, are not the norm right now. And sellers are also more likely to use transparent pricing—a list price that isn’t begging for an overbid.

Homes listed for under $2,000,000 in San Francisco are the sweet spot at the moment. In that spirit, I have rounded up my picks in the “Coming Soon” category. (This is an actual Multiple Listing Service category now, visible only to MLS agent members.) Please feel free to get in touch with me at eileen@insidesfre.com | 415.823.4656 if you’d like more info about any of these off-market homes.

54 Sussex
Glen Park

3BR/1.5BA, 1242 sq ft, 2 parking
List price: $1,675,000

This sweet mid-century home at 54 Sussex has all three bedrooms on the same level, two-car parking and a bucolic location that’s a few minutes’ stroll from Glen Park’s downtown area and the all-important BART station. Pricing is transparent on this one, so writing an offer at $1,675,000 with reasonable terms could easily do the trick. [Listing courtesy of Corcoran Global Living] Continue Reading

First Steps for Reopening SF Real Estate

It’s been almost a month since The Bay Area shelter in place (SIP) went into effect. The good news is that our collective efforts appear to be bending the curve in California, according to Governor Newsom’s address yesterday. And talk in San Francisco Realtor circles is turning to how we should initially begin reopening real estate after the government lifts the SIP. Continue Reading

My First Virtual Open House

My First Virtual Open House

I attended my first virtual open house this past weekend, and decided that it was an excellent addition to the marketing mix when it comes to “viewing” a home during the shelter in place (SIP). We’re very limited these days when it comes to physical property showings, so it’s key for listing agents to think outside the box.

My Corcoran Global Living colleagues, Amy Clemens and Alec Mironov, pulled together a helpful virtual open house this weekend. They launched their Glen Park single-family home listing last week at 31 Fairmount, and sent out an e-flyer promoting the listing and their Saturday virtual open from 10:00-12:00. I clicked on the scheduling link, requested my 20-minute time slot and received a Google Hangouts invitation. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Corcoran Global Living

415.823.4656

eileen@insidesfre.com

DRE# 01352627

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